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Indian startup Ninjacart backed by Walmart and Flipkart

Indian startup Ninjacart backed by Walmart and Flipkart, Credit: Business Standard
Credit: Business Standard



Indian online retailer Flipkart and its major stakeholder Walmart have invested in fresh produce startup, Ninjacart. Ninjacart connects fruit and vegetable growers with retailers and food service operators via its technology-integrated supply chain. The new partnership is intended to grant Indian retailers and consumers better access to high-quality fresh produce, while also supporting farmers.

The agreement will enable direct sourcing of fresh produce for Walmart India’s Best Price B2B cash-and-carry stores and Flipkart’s online grocery business Supermart. At the same time, it will also allow Ninjacart to expand its customer base, reach new cities and gain exposure to global best practices to enhance the efficiency of the local fresh produce ecosystem.

Nijacart currently operates over 200 collection centres and 1,200 warehouses across India, handling in excess of 1,400 tons of fresh produce per day, a volume that has doubled in the last four months.

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Walmart back on track with Produce 2.0

Walmart back on track with Produce 2.0


Walmart’s fresh produce is now at the level of its competitors. This is the bold statement of the US retail giant’s CEO Doug McMillon, following the launch of the Produce 2.0 initiative. Speaking at an investor conference, McMillon said, “We match up (to our rivals), but I don’t want to have our team get comfortable. We have a really competitive quality offer and a great value in produce today.”

McMillon acknowledges that Walmart were behind its rivals in terms of its offerings of fresh food, but argues that thanks to its detailed work on product sourcing and handling to improve speed to shelf and increased hours on the shopfloor, the firm has greatly improved its in-store execution and presentations. These lessons are now being showcased in improved layouts at stores as part of the “Produce 2.0” initiative, a merchandising set expected to be introduced in about half of Walmart’s Supercenters by next summer.

Describing the feeling of entering into a store where these changes have been made, McMillon said, “It looks like a fresh market. There’s a lot of colour. It’s in your face. It feels aggressive from a merchandising point of view. And I walked into my first one in the El Paso market months ago and didn’t realise I was walking into a Produce 2.0 store. But when I walked through the door, it hit me, ‘What has happened here in produce?’ And then I was able to process and figure out, ‘Oh, they put Produce 2.0 here.’ It’s got that kind of impact.”


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Food firms join forces with retailers in China to set up Fresh Assemble

envios a domicilio

Walmart and have joined forces with seven major food suppliers in China to expand Walmart’s home delivery service in the country with the addition of 100 new products. The venture is called Fresh Assemble and will feature contributions from Goodfarmer, Tyson, Sunner, Blue Snow, Jinlongyu, Dole and Yili, Customers living within three kilometres of Walmart retail outlets across China can choose from 450 different items to order products for home delivery via the JD Daojia platform.

Walmart is also working with the Dada delivery service to ensure food safety and ecological practices. The home delivery market in China is growing quickly and Walmart and are seeking to be main players in the lucrative field.

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Walmart honoured as top US mango retailer

The NMB said Campisi, senior director of quality control at Walmart, took the lead in making Walmart the first retailer in the US to pursue a year round ripe and ready to eat mango program, establishing its in-house ripening program and training QC teams to condition mangos.

Walmart has been singled out from over 100 retailers in America for special recognition as a mango retailer.

The US National Mango Board (NMB) named Walmart’s Wynn Peterson and Gary Campisi the 2016 Mango Retailers of the Year.

The award recognises retailers that go above and beyond to offer strong consistent support to the mango industry, and deliver outstanding mango promotion results, and was announced on October 16 during the PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Orlando, Florida.

In a press release, the NMB said Peterson, a senior produce merchant at Walmart, envisioned that making Walmart the destination for mangos in the US would be good for business, “not just good for their produce business, but good for their overall store sales.

“He convinced upper management to invest in an aggressive promotion and pricing strategy, which included huge mango displays featured in prime store locations.”

Peterson said improving freshness has been a strategic focus for us at Walmart for the past two years. “Our suppliers have partnered with us to help take days out of our supply chain so that our Walmart customers are enjoying fresher produce than ever.”

“Even after a few years of excellent sales performance, we still have tremendous upside as we work together to introduce more people to this delicious fruit,” he said.

Left to right: Wendy McManus, Retail Program Manager at the NMB; Wynn Peterson, Senior Produce Merchant at Walmart; Gary Campisi, Senior Director of Quality Control at Walmart; and Manuel Michel, Executive Director at the NMB.

The NMB said Campisi, senior director of quality control at Walmart, took the lead in making Walmart the first retailer in the US to pursue a year round ripe and ready to eat mango program, establishing its in-house ripening program and training QC teams to condition mangos.

“Since 2012, the NMB and their ripening experts (and their persistence!) have helped Walmart develop a mango ripening program that would provide a better eating experience for our customers which would in turn increase sales. We have definitely seen the increase in customer demand with significant year over year growth in the mango category,” Campisi said.

NMB retail program manager Wendy McManus said Walmart has fundamentally changed its US mango business model over the past couple of years. “And because they are the largest retailer in the US, their focus on mangos has impacted the entire industry, whether you sell directly to them or not,” she said.



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Walmart’s seamless shopping strategy

Walmart's “seamless shopping” strategy starts with its existing, unparalleled assets – 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain – but also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

Customers used to compare Walmart with the store down the street; now they compare it with the best online shopping experience, says CEO Doug McMillon.

“And beyond retail, they compare us with every business they interact with in their lives. They compare our pickup experience to the speed and friendliness of the best drive-through. They compare our checkout process to the ease of paying with an app,” he want on to say.

In an excerpt from the American multinational retail chain’s 2015 annual report, McMillon said retail is not just about putting items on a shelf anymore. “It’s about fighting for our customers, cutting out the hassles and advocating for them on price, too. We’re moving beyond just selling products to being the brand customers rely on to make their lives simpler and more meaningful as they save money.”

McMillon said Walmart’s “seamless shopping” strategy starts with “unparalleled assets that only Walmart has – our 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain. But it also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

“This includes new digital tools for customers and frontline associates, as well as back-end software and platform work that benefits the entire enterprise. The use of data, algorithms, advanced forecasting capabilities – and more – is of extreme strategic significance.

“We will put these pieces together in a way no one else can,” he said.

“To help our associates succeed and better serve our customers, we’ve made big changes – including investing approximately $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, education and training to make Walmart U.S. a better place to work and shop.

“We’re already seeing positive results: our fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 marked six consecutive quarters of positive comps and five straight quarters of positive traffic at Walmart U.S. Everything we’re doing in omnichannel depends on customers having great interactions with us in our stores.”

And the retail giant will strive to be more sustainable, “both in our own operations and in our supply chain,” he said.

“We have three big goals: creating zero waste, running on 100 percent renewable energy and selling products that sustain people and the environment.”


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Walmart supercentre revamp could shape future stores

Walmart says its revamp of a supercenter in Arkansas put put berries — a growing category — in the front of its Fresh department, while bananas, already a huge draw, are near the back to help lead customers through.

Walmart says it put a “new angle on fresh” as part of its recent facelift of a supercentre in Rogers, Arkansas.

Describing it as the first step toward the “supercenter of the future,” Walmart said the revamp put berries — a growing category — in the front of its Fresh department, while bananas, already a huge draw, are near the back to help lead customers through.

The retail giant said the revamp last year of supercentre #5260 included using purple signage in Fresh and throughout the store connects to an increase in organic products, along with improved sight lines and angled aisles.

In an article on the change, Walmart said other features of the refresh are:

  • Check Out Your Way: multiple options for checkout. Scan & Go supplies a wand so customers can scan items as they’re shopping. Hybrid registers can be self-service or manned by associates, depending on the need. And high-velocity checkouts — where a cashier scans items while the customer moves through the line to pay — are more than three times faster than conventional checkouts.

  • Pickup, Up Front: In-Store Pickup and Walmart Services share space up front at Store 5260. It’s clearly marked so customers can find it and get their orders quickly.

“Added into the refreshed look were several new approaches to technologies, services, products and layouts, which are currently being tested with customers.

“Early reports are positive, but it’s too soon to tell what’s working and what isn’t. What’s clear: Things that seem straightforward could show up in new stores or remodels. Store 5260 is simply the first step toward the supercenter of the future, but it’s critical to informing upcoming tests,” it said.


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Walmart to open 15 supercentres across Canada this month

Walmart Canada will soon boast 400 stores, including 312 supercentres and 88 discount stores.

Walmart Canada will grand open 15 supercentres this month – representing an investment of more than $100 million – and completing its expansion plan for the company’s current fiscal year, ending January 31, 2016, according to a company media release.

In addition to the 29 supercentre projects announced on February 22, 2015, an additional 13 supercentres were announced on May 8, 2015, of which five will have their grand opening next week. These grand openings will bring Walmart Canada’s total store count to 400 stores, including 312 supercentres and 88 discount stores.

“We’re thrilled to open our 400th location in Canada this month, as well as our 300th supercentre,” said Preyash Thakrar, senior vice president, strategy and real estate. “These supercentres will provide even more Canadian communities with affordable access to quality fresh groceries and one-stop shopping, while also saving them money.”

Walmart serves more than 1.2 million customers each day. Its online store,, is visited by over 450,000 Canadians daily.

One-stop shopping

Walmart Supercentres offer up to 120,000 products, including a full complement of groceries –fresh produce, bakery goods, deli, meat and dairy products and organic selection as well as apparel, home decor and electronics. They also offer specialty services including pharmacies, garden centres and medical clinics.

“Walmart’s supercentres provide unparalleled access to a one-stop shopping experience,” added Thakrar. “Our supercentres deliver low prices everyday on the thousands of items Canadians want, especially quality, affordable fresh food for their families,” Thakrar said.

Additional company information can be found at:

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Brands helping growth at Walmart China

Walmart China has launched the “100% Freshness guaranteed” campaign and is planning to open 100 more shops by 2016.

Walmart is so far the only international retail chain operating in China with its own nationwide logistics centre for perishables. “All the fruit and vegetable distribution today is centralised from our 11 platforms,” said Vincent Yeh, head of perishables procurement at Walmart China.

The depots are located at Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Kunming, Xiamen, Shengyang, Taiyuan and Hangzhou. Walmart China is today busy building an international supply chain to directly source most of its imported fruit.

So far in the first semester, about 20% of the imported fruit sold in the shops has been directly sourced by the Walmart department. This represents about 200 containers of overseas fruit (like apples, citrus, pears, grapes, cherries and blueberries) and 1,000 units of tropical fruit from South East Asia (mainly bananas, dragon fruit, durians and pineapples). Imported fruit today represents 45-50% of all the fruit sold by the shops. “We believe we can still have larger sales of imported fruit, since it is helping us to differentiate us as an international chain,” Yeh said.

Citrus and durian the most popular in 2015

Citrus is the largest imported category, taking up about 40% of the directly sourced volumes, followed by apples (25%) and pears (5%). Citrus procurement at Walmart has more than doubled since October 2014, when the US was again given access to Chinese markets. Durians became the fastest growing item in 2015 (all sourced from Thailand). “It is increasingly popular this year due to its health benefits: it is considered a warm or energetic fruit, recommended for women and babies,” Yeh said.

Due to the same health trends, lemons were the fastest growing imported fruit in 2014. It is very popular for its antioxidant properties and benefits for the skin. Avocados and blueberries keep increasing in popularity too, for similar health reasons. Spain has appeared on the market with lemons and oranges, able to supply over a long period, though South Africa is the top source for citrus, between May and September, followed by Egypt, Spain (with late oranges between February and June) and Australia (between May and September).

Produce brands helping to sell

“In future we hope to sell more branded items, even well-known European brands. This is our next step towards quality,” Yeh said.

So far among the most famous brands sold there is Dole, Zespri and Sunkist. “Last year we started with Pink Lady, Blue Whale and Oscar; Truval is also one of our growing brands.” Fuji apples remain by far the best-selling variety in China , representing 90% of the volumes. The remaining 10% are Galas and Red Delicious. Imported varieties represent 30% of the total sales of apples at Walmart, mainly with Gala, Red Delicious and a few varieties from New Zealand (Rose and Queen). The main sources are Chile, New Zealand, the US and France. Stone fruit and grapes are also a future growth category according to Vincent. So far, cherries represent more than 90% of the stone fruit imported, with plums second with just 5%. The potential demand is there for other products like apricots, peaches, nectarines and flat fruit.